Village of Westmont
Date Issued: June 22, 2020
The 4th of July is usually celebrated with cookouts, outdoor activities, and fireworks shows. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Village of Westmont and many other communities have canceled their firework displays. This is raising concerns about an increase in use of novelty fireworks and illegal fireworks in Illinois.
“The number of fires created by people using illegal fireworks is alarming,” said Westmont Fire Chief Steve Riley. “We ask everyone to be safe and make sure they do not use illegal fireworks.”
According to the National Fire Protection Association, fireworks started an estimated 19,500 fires in 2018, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires, and 17,100 outside and other fires. These fires caused five deaths, 46 civilian injuries, and $105 million in direct property damage in the United States. These fires are not only caused by commercial/consumer fireworks, but also by unregulated novelty fireworks that are sometimes purchased at local supermarkets.
SPARKLERS & MORE
Home fireworks should be limited to “novelties” including sparklers, snappers, poppers, etc. as can be purchased in any general retailer. However even these can be very dangerous. Sparklers account for the greatest number of fireworks injuries, and often to the youngest victims. Sparklers burn in excess of 1200 degrees – hot enough to melt many metals and hot enough turn steel glowing red. An instantaneous touch of this will cause a burn and may result in permanent damage or scarring.
SUMMER FIRE SAFETY
A backyard fire pit or bonfire can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. Unfortunately, outdoor fire accidents send thousands of people to the emergency room with burn injuries each year.
“Sometimes an impulsive moment and a bad decision can turn into a tragedy,” said Westmont EMA Director Dave Weiss. “It’s important for people to keep simple safety precautions in mind when they are planning to use fire pits or have a bonfire.”
Before you gather around your backyard fire this season, remember these safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:
- Before starting the fire, check with your local fire department to make sure it is permitted
- Start the fire at least 25 feet away from a structure or anything that can burn
- Clear away dry leaves, brush, and overhanging low branches and shrubs
- Avoid burning on dry, windy days - it is easier for the fire to spread and get out of control when the conditions are not favorable
- Keep the fire small for better control
- Watch children while the fire is burning - never let children or pets play or stand too close to the fire
- Never use gasoline or other flammable or combustible liquids on a campfire
- Always have a bucket of water, a garden hose, or shovel and dirt ready to put out the fire
- Before you leave, make sure the fire is completely out
- Never leave a fire unattended
- If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll back and forth until the fire is out
- Treat a burn right away - Cool the burn with cool water for 3 to 5 minutes, cover with a clean, dry cloth, and seek medical help if needed
If you have additional questions regarding fire safety, please contact the Westmont Fire Department at 630-981-6400.
Contact: Larry McIntyre
Village of Westmont
Communications Director/Public Information Officer